Tuesday, June 6, 2023 Jun 6, 2023
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A Daily Conversation About Dallas
Local News

Dallas Kicks Off Pride Celebrations

Bethany Erickson
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The weather cooperated and offered sunny skies for Sunday's 2023 Dallas Pride Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in Fair Park. Bret Redman

Dallas Pride celebrated its 40th year Saturday and Sunday at Fair Park with music, family-friendly fun, and more. Saturday’s Dallas Pride Music Festival featured acts like headliner Allison Ponthier, Black Girl Magic, Averi Burk, Dezi 5, The Roommates, and the cast of the Rose Room. Sunday’s Dallas Price Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade provided plenty of floats, elaborate costumes, bands, and more along the mile-long route.

But that’s not the end of North Texas’s pride celebrations. We’ve compiled a full list of events throughout the month here. And check out this gallery of photos from the weekend, courtesy of Bret Redman.

Local News

Don’t F*CK With Cats

Tim Rogers
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Bongo is missing.

I worry about Bongo. A number of weeks ago, I saw this enormous “missing cat” sign in the Casa Linda neighborhood. It offered $3,200 for Bongo’s safe return. This past weekend, the reward climbed to $3,500. In April, the bounty was $1,000 for the munchkin Scottish fold.

Bongo, if you’re reading this, send me an email. I’ll split the reward with you.

Here’s the deal. I graduated from Cistercian Prep, in Irving, with 28 guys who went on to land jobs of consequence. We’ve got a retired Air Force colonel and a federal prosecutor and a venture capitalist who has raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Me, turns out I was qualified only to hunt down dangling modifiers. So Saturday evening, at my 35th high school reunion, when we took this photo with a Big Boy and when several of my classmates said, “Is this worth a blog post?” I was like, “I totally can make that happen.” Gotta do whatever I can to impress them.

If you aren’t one of the 28 other guys who graduated from Cistercian in 1988, you can stop reading right now. This post is meant solely for them. Very niche post.

Almost exactly a decade ago, I wrote a story for D Magazine about stealing a Kip’s Big Boy from a Forest Lane restaurant when I was in high school. I strongly implied that an East Dallas landscaper was in possession of that Big Boy. One of my classmates got in touch with that landscaper and learned that the Big Boy will travel for a night for $100.

It was great to see my old school chums. I can’t fully explain how bonkers I went when they had me close my eyes and marched me out to see the surprise Big Boy that had been drawn to our gathering.

What a wonderful evening. Lads, it was great to see you and catch up.

Hox Vobiscum

Local News

Leading Off (6/5/23)

Zac Crain
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One Dead, Four Injured in Sunnyvale Shooting. Three of the injured were children. The suspect left in a black car. Police are still investigating.

The Rangers Are Scoring a Historic Amount. Notching 10-plus 16 times in 60 games has only been matched by the 1999 Seattle Mariners and the 1936 New York Yankees over the last 100 years. That’s pretty good!

Satou Sabally Stars Again In Dallas Wings Loss. The other big German had 26 points and 14 rebounds, but couldn’t overcome the Connecticut Sun.

FC Dallas Falls to Nashville. A late goal did our boys in.

Local News

Q&A: How Dallas Is Adding Parks By Going Small

Matt Goodman
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An aerial view of a new playground built by the Cool Schools program. Jose Fontanillas / Courtesy of the Texas Trees Foundation

Klyde Warren Park has become the bellwether for urban park developments across the country, particularly as cities try to hide their highways under decks and caps. Deck parks are happening in Little Rock, Arkansas and Atlanta, Georgia. This type of development is happening closer to home, in McKinney. It’s even happening again closer to home, in Oak Cliff over Interstate 35E and near downtown and South Dallas over Interstate 30.  

It’s a big infrastructure investment that attracts headlines and public dollars. Harder to fund—and harder to find—are the small decisions that lead to bigger changes. Like how Dallas jumped 10 other cities in a ranking of how many of its residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park.

These are smaller efforts targeted directly where people live, community investments where folks can walk their dog after work or throw a ball around with their kid on a Sunday. That energy is spreading across the city, particularly in southern Dallas and Oak Cliff.

“These don’t need to be 5-acre parcels,” says Arun Agarwal, president of the Dallas Park Board. “We see pocket parks in Manhattan. Why not here?”

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land is the entity that tracks how cities are providing greenspace for all their residents. This year, 73 percent of Dallasites now have a park within a 10-minute walk from their home. That’s up from 53 percent about a decade ago. At 43rd, we’re now ranked two spaces below Austin, good enough for third in the state. (Plano, where 80 percent of its residents live within a 10-minute walk, is the highest in Texas at 16th.)

Mayor Eric Johnson has made these small-scale investments a priority of his second term. His last state of the city address directed staff to put together a list of all the city-owned vacant properties to explore the potential for new parks or affordable housing. That list identified more than 300 parcels, the vast majority of which are below Interstate 30 in southern Dallas and Oak Cliff, neighborhoods that have long been overlooked for park infrastructure.

There are major projects underway in Oak Cliff. South Oak Cliff Renaissance Park replaced a 2-acre illegal dump across from South Oak Cliff High School in 2021. The Trust for Public Land’s Texas branch is overseeing the overhaul of the Five Mile Creek corridor, which will include two more parks and 14 miles of trail that will stretch east from the Westmoreland DART Station into the forthcoming 50-mile LOOP trailhead in the Trinity Forest.

Those are big projects. Mayor Johnson recently created a volunteer position he called the “greening czar.” He awarded it to the philanthropist and Container Store co-founder Garrett Boone, who has spent much of his retirement investing in green spaces across Dallas. (He’s one of the Trust for Public Land’s largest local funders.)

He’ll be charged with identifying other locations for parks that can help more residents live within a 10-minute walk from one. The mayor recently directed the city manager to use $1.25 million in federal COVID relief dollars to kick things off.

Boone chatted with D Magazine about his new (volunteer) job. The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Ken Paxton Will Defend Himself Against Major Texas Lawyers. Dick DeGuerin and Rusty Hardin are names you grow up knowing in Houston. DeGuerin defended politicians like Tom DeLay and Kay Bailey Hutchison, along with other headline-grabbers like Robert Durst and David Koresh. Hardin was involved in the defense for the Arthur Anderson accounting firm during the Enron scandal. He defended Wade Boggs in a harassment suit and navigated the complicated estate of millionaire J. Howard Marshall during a conflict with his widow, Anna Nicole Smith. “This is the legislature saying, ‘This isn’t just some case, this is an unusual, historic case,’” a Dallas appellate lawyer told the Texas Tribune. The attorney general has a fight ahead of him.

Austin Bridge and Road Is Leaving Joppa. The company will close its asphalt batch plant in the southern Dallas neighborhood on June 26 amid a complicated roundabout process that Sharon Grigsby works to unfurl. It’s worth your time.

DART Train Strikes Scooter Rider. WFAA has some fun with this one without a byline—“the scooter driver was trying to race across the tracks in order to beat the approaching train, which they appear to have failed in doing”—and the scooter rider was hospitalized. DART wouldn’t go that far with the details on the record, only saying the person was riding unsafely. It shows there will always be a human element to riding these things, and that’s something the city must plan for.

Teenagers Arrested in Violent Oak Lawn-Area Robberies. Three of the kids are 16 and one is 15. They had guns and held up people and businesses, sometimes attacking their victims. The incidents happened between May 3 and May 28 and they’ve been charged with aggravated robbery.

Abbott Names New Interim AG. Gov. Greg Abbott named Fort Worth lawyer John Scott as interim attorney general while Ken Paxton faces impeachment. Scott previously served as the state’s interim Secretary of State during the 2022 primaries and midterm elections and had been a lobbyist during the regular legislative session this year. He quit the day the House voted on Paxton’s impeachment. The Senate trial is expected to begin before August 28, and until the matter is resolved, Paxton is suspended from his office.

Fate of Property Tax Relief Still Up in the Air. Not much has changed in the game of legislative chicken over property tax relief being played between Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dade Phelan. However, Abbott released a statement Wednesday praising the House for passing exactly what he asked, and Patrick responded that Abbott“seems misinformed about the roles of the executive and legislative branches of government.” Basically, they’re still in a fight about it, and a repeat special session seems kind of likely.

Suspect in Preston Center Shooting Found. Dallas Police said Wednesday that Antwon Osborne, 17, was arrested last week in Nevada after he allegedly shot a security guard at Preston Center West on May 19. Osborne is suspected of being the person security video depicts fighting with Adalberto Santiago and then shooting him before fleeing in a gold sedan. Santiago later died of his wounds.

Juvenile Department Director Sues Dallas County. Dallas County Juvenile Department director Darryl Beatty filed suit against the County this week in a bid to avoid giving commissioners redacted records the Commissioners Court seeks regarding how children are confined while in the department’s custody. Commissioners are asking for redacted observation sheets that should explain how long children are confined to their rooms, and the lawsuit argues that the request is unlawful. A recent report by an advocacy group found that children in Dallas County are detained 95 days before the case is resolved, longer than the national standards.

Good Time, Not a Long Time, For Texas House Special Session. Gov. Greg Abbott called lawmakers back to chambers for a special session, which lasted exactly one day. The House bill to address the governor’s priority of property tax relief passed without increasing homestead exemptions, which was what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wanted to see. And then the body adjourned. That means the Senate either backs the bill against the wishes of Patrick, or blink and likely force another special session.

Two North Texas 5th Graders Make it to Spelling Bee Quarterfinals. The kids, from Allen and Keller, made it another round in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday. Faizan Zaki, of Allen, moved forward by nailing “kapparah” and “jointure” as well as properly identifying the definition of how to “corral” a herd. Brihasa Vederu, of Keller, got through with “pahoehoe” and “cuticle” and defined “corollary.”

Dallas Animal Services Still Navigating Ransomware Attack. The Dallas Municipal Court Building reopened this week, a little under a month since hackers accessed the city’s servers. The police department’s evidence retrieval system is again working, but Dallas Animal Service’s computer system was “totally crippled.” That tracks how animals navigated through the shelter, including medical information, intake data, and outcomes. That means everything is happening by hand. Want an animal? It’s best to go in person.

Local News

After Years of Advocacy in Dallas and Around Texas, the CROWN Act Becomes Law

Catherine Wendlandt
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After more than two years of advocacy across the state, Gov. Greg Abbott signed H.B. 567 into law over the weekend. Commonly known as the CROWN Act, the bill makes discrimination against natural hair and protective hairstyles illegal. ©Ricardo B. Brazziell/American Statesman

On March 22, WFAA reporter Tashara Parker stood before eight members of the Texas House of Legislature’s State Affairs committee in Austin, her hair swinging in a long braid behind her back. She had waited almost 11 hours to speak. At the podium, she asked the legislators to imagine “walking into work carrying the weight of an identity that was not your own.” That their natural hair—be it straight or textured, braided, in locks (also known as dreadlocks), or flat-ironed—was deemed “unprofessional.”  

The subject of Parker’s testimony, House Bill 567, would make such discrimination illegal.  

Standing for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” or CROWN, House Bill 567 would prevent discrimination against someone based on their hairstyle or hair texture “commonly or historically associated with race.” The bill overwhelmingly passed the State House of Representatives 143-5 April 13, and in the State Senate 29-1 nearly a month later on May 12. Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law over the weekend. It goes into effect on September 1.

On May 24, Dallas City Council passed a resolution in support of H.B. 567, encouraging Governor Greg Abbott to sign it into law.  

“The CROWN Act is Civil Rights legislation that will affect and improve the lives of countless Texans,” said Rep. Rhetta Bowers for District 113 in Garland, who co-authored the bill, in a statement to D Magazine.  

The bill’s language bans entities like schools and employers from enacting grooming or dress code policies that discriminate against natural hair or protective hair styles that are historically tied to race, including braids, locks, and twists.

It was the shortest sine die in recent history: the Texas Legislature gaveled out Monday afternoon, only to be called back for the start of what Gov. Greg Abbott indicated would be several special sessions through the summer. When the legislature adjourned, after all, it had only passed three of Abbott’s listed priorities: a bill increasing penalties for those found guilty of fentanyl poisoning, a school safety bill, and a bill outlawing COVID mandates.

The first special session started at 9 p.m. Monday night—about three hours after the close of the regular session. But before we delve into what lawmakers are digging into with the first special session, let’s rewind to a very dramatic Sunday, when one of Abbott’s priority bills—legislation that would use part of the state’s budget surplus to reduce property taxes—failed to pass. 

Local News

North Texas Lawmakers Factor Prominently in Paxton Impeachment Proceedings

Bethany Erickson
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House General Investigating Committee members, including Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) and chair Andrew Murr (R-Junction), laid out the articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton in the House Chamber at the Texas Capitol on Saturday, May 27, 2023. Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Standoffs on school funding and property tax reductions bookended the final days of the 88th regular session of the Texas Legislature. It was a dramatic weekend, even without the House voting on articles of impeachment for Attorney General Ken Paxton. 

On Saturday, the House voted 121-23 to impeach the state’s embattled top cop, which breaks down to 61 Democrats and 60 Republicans. Among those who voted for impeachment are the entire Collin County delegation of state representatives. (Paxton and his wife, State Rep. Angela Paxton, have lived in McKinney for decades.)

The representatives—Jeff Leach (R-Plano), Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), Justin Holland (R-Rockwall), Candy Noble (R-Lucas), and Frederick Frazier (R-McKinney), called Paxton a “longtime friend,” and said that the vote was “incredibly difficult.”

“General (sic) Paxton, like all Texans, is entitled to a presumption of innocence,” they said. “In that regard, it is our hope that the Texas Senate will expeditiously hold a fair, impartial and full trial on the merits.”

The five were the subject of some ire from Collin County GOP Chair Abraham George, who held a rally Monday at the Collin County Courthouse and demanded that everyone who voted for impeachment be voted out of office while questioning the impeachment process.

“The Texas House followed all applicable laws and rules [relating to impeachment] to the letter,” Holland said in a Tweet. “Abraham George is misinformed and has led the @CollinGOP so poorly that it has led to a decline in participation in Republican politics. I hope, he too, is faced with a primary.”

Among the 23 that voted against impeachment include North Texas representatives Brian Harrison (R-Midlothian), Nate Schatzline (R-Fort Worth), and Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington).

Stars Got Crushed. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s account of the 6-0 spanking: “William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Keegan Kolesar wrapped their arms around one another and jumped on the American Airlines Center ice. The celebration continued as the Golden Knights—after not touching the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl—celebrated winning the Western Conference by belting Toto’s “Hold the Line” and donning gray hats and T-shirts.” If you can stomach it, we’ve got more for you over on StrongSide.

Mark Cuban Gets Dragged on Twitter. The billionaire stepped in it last night. After he asked how many people were watching the Heat-Celtics game on an illegal stream, he earned the nickname Narc Cuban, which then began trending.

Paxton Supporters Rally in Collin County. About 100 people turned out on the steps of the county courthouse to protest the impeachment of Ken Paxton, who now faces a Senate trial over charges of bribery and abuse of power.